Every so often I receive notes and thoughts from colleagues who have meant so much to me personally and professionally. Some have also read my book, One Life Lost, Millions Gained: The Story of A flight Nurse Turned Medaire CEO.
Following is one such correspondence from a dear friend Mike Ambrose, Director General [Retired], European Regions Airline Association, and Past Deputy Chair [International, Flight Safety Foundation. With his permission, I’m sharing his kind words and review of my book.
As I had planned, I delayed reading your autobiography until I was on a few day’s break in Cardiff and could take it at a leisurely pace to savour it. So, you asked me to let you know my thoughts. Here goes…
The book includes quotations submitted by friends and colleagues whose lives you have touched. All are highly complimentary, and I endorse them fully. Nevertheless, I will add a few comments of my own.
You are someone to be admired for your unimpeachable integrity, your sharp business mind, and your ability to make everyone you meet feel that you are so pleased to see them. You are passionate in the things that you hold dear and compassionate for those in need. Your ambition and achievements have been enormous, but your feet are planted firmly on the ground. Far from making you egotistical, your success has been tempered with humility and understanding for others. Lastly, and for me, very importantly, you have a great sense of humour and can laugh at yourself as well. To top it all, let’s face it, you are also a beautiful woman.
Now for the book itself. I had to slow down my reading because I was devouring it too quickly. It is a habit I started as a child. With a good book, my reading would get slower and slower as the end of the book became closer. When a good book ends, I usually find that its ’companionship’ resonates with me for days afterward.
It was the same with your book. It reminded me of many enjoyable occasions that we shared, even though many of them were [understandably] not mentioned by you. For example, nightcaps with you and Manfred in the hotel in Moscow, the many discussions on the future of FSF in Board of Governors meetings in WAS, dinner at the Japanese restaurant in Alexandria where I watched in amazement the speed with which the chef was cutting meat – then I realised that even if his showmanship went awry, I was sitting next to a fully experienced and qualified nurse.
Reading your story was a different type of experience from most autobiographies that I have read. The best analogy which I can find is to be looking at a still-to-be-finished painting. The artist has completed the main elements of his composition but leaves the viewer very interested, indeed sure, that the uncompleted areas will be equally absorbing and will enhance the overall result. In past meetings, I had gleaned many of the key features of your career [the main elements of the painting], but your autobiography fills in the rationales and emotions affecting your career, life, decisions, and development.
You have provided a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing story. It is a book that I would encourage younger people to read as it demonstrates that, with enough determination, effort, and self-belief, the seemingly impossible can be achieved.
The day after I finished the book, I found myself thinking of Dolly Parton, whose life has been a fair parallel to your own – but I knew that there was a more definite link if only I could remember it. It came to me a couple of days later. A few weeks ago, I watched a ‘feel-good’ movie centered around Dollywood. In the final stages of the movie, Dolly is explaining to the young heroine her own attitude to life. She sums it up as “Those that say it can’t be done, will you just stop interrupting those of us who are doing it.” It is pure JSG !!!!!!
Joan, I feel proud to be able to call you my friend, and thank you for your support and guidance.
With my fondest wishes,